Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Blip or slump? (Sliding Doors set in Blackburn)
We win tonight.
We'll have only lost one in 13 league games.
Modric is back in 10 days (we can beat Bolton at home without him), ready for Milan and invigorated after brief, enforced rest.
Thud'll be back soon, so will Bale. Midfield as strong as anyone in the league's.
Woodgate's already sort of back, and 18 months or so ago was our best defender. Can be again.
Khumalo will be the bargain of the year.
We're only three behind Chelsea and putting some distance between us and what we now feel entitled to disdainfully refer to as 'the rest'.
Defoe hits form and Pav decides to be excellent all the time, not just once or twice a month.
Crouch buys a cushion to help him through bench-warming duties.
Liverpool's little run proves to be as lucky and flimsy as it's looked from the highlights on TV.
Suarez fails to settle and Andy Carroll isn't a poor man's Alan Shearer, he's a tramp's Dean Windass. They stop bothering us completely, in other words.
We forget about our, let's call them 'clumsy' efforts in the transfer window and surge on with the players that have been so brilliant for a year.
We lose tonight.
We'll have got two points out of the last 12.
We're properly detached from the top four and Chelsea are about to win six on the spin.
We are 'the rest'.
Modric is out for a month (the month that decides our season).
We finally acknowledge that VdV's been a bit shit lately (oh come on, he has).
Thud and Bale both have annoying, chronic injuries that see them coming back for the odd game and then being out for three or four weeks.
Woodgate breaks down in training, Ledley's having surgery, so's Kabul, Dawson's suspended (and wobbling) and Khumalo's useless.
Which means, long term, we're without both our first choice central defenders and both our first choice central midfielders.
We get despondent and can't rouse ourselves for the Milan or Arse games.
Season ends. Oh, apart from a humiliating 'battle for 6th' with Sunderland, whilst keeping an eye on who wins the cups, because that decides how many Europa Cup spots open up.
So, big game? You wouldn't have picked it out of the fixture list at the start of the season, would you? But it sure feels big. We need a fillip, and a reminder that we're actually not that bad.
We need to deliver a season that means a world class striker will join is in the summer, when presumably we can conduct our business with a bit more class and professionalism. We don't need a season that means we have to have a punt on Connor Wickham.
Oh, and a draw? Well that's about 75 per cent Slump, certainly more Slump than Blip. A Slimp, I guess.